The Power Of Lifelong Learning by George H. Miller, FAIA


An article in Connection Magazine’s Edification issue published in December, 2016 highlighted thoughts from a selection of active COD members on the relationship between COD and life-long learning. The magazine’s space limitations wouldn’t allow for the full text of each contributor so we’re presenting them here in their totality.

New ideas, new observations, new knowledge, new learning opportunities present themselves to us every day. In every walk of life there is more to learn, more to absorb, and more to share.  Professional organizations including the American Institute of Architects, the American Medical Association and their licensing boards require ongoing learning to ensure that a licensee is familiar with the latest knowledge in their field. In our architectural profession continuing education is necessary to maintain one’s license. Formalized lifelong learning is often viewed as an irritant to maintaining one’s architectural license or membership in the membership of the largest and most influential professional organization for architects. To me, the importance of lifelong learning cannot be understated. It is not an irritant but rather an opportunity! There are so many areas of knowledge waiting to be absorbed. New materials and construction methodologies.

NCARB and the majority of state licensing boards require continuing education to maintain and improve an architect’s knowledge of health, safety and welfare as it relates to our profession. This is necessary to remind all of us of the trust that the public has placed with their design professionals. The updated knowledge of building codes and safety issues are critical. We must recognize that our profession is a collaborative one and all of our team members must have an in-depth knowledge base that is necessary to design, detail and construct a building. I encourage all architectural school graduates and their instructors to become licensed.

For me, the premise of lifelong learning offer many rewards. These rewards are the opportunity to explore new materials and construction techniques and new advances in the profession. The knowledge may be related to new ways of using known technology or it might be something completely new. Think back on your own career and consider the developments where new knowledge has been necessary to implement new materials or assemblies. Today my interests are peaked by new composite materials, 3D rapid prototyping, elevators that can move horizontally, curved escalators, and new fabrication and installation techniques.  And the way we document our designs has dramatically transformed since the onset of AutoCAD and Revit modeling. Consider the world of animation and virtual reality presentations that are the norm today.

Continuing education and lifelong learning is critical to your success as a professional. Do you know what you don’t know? Are you familiar with new materials, documentation methods, and construction techniques? Make lifelong learning and continuing education an important part of your life or fall behind with the profession of tomorrow. It’s your life, make it right!

The COD article appears on pages 28-31.



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